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Remembering Rome: What became of the cancelled hit HBO show?

By Charlie Bingley on Oct 29, 2012 to HBO Classics

Rome title artIt’s been 5 years since the last showing of Rome and fans have been left in the dark ages ever since. Between 2008 and 2010 exciting rumors surfaced over a possible Rome film; yes film!  But the fire of anticipation around those rumors have burnt down to mere embers as of late. What made Rome stand out was its sheer scale, its attention to detail in costuming and architecture that were all visible in its grandeur.

In fact, it’s rumored that the period sets spanned a whopping 5 acres and that would make it one of the largest period sets ever. The joint BBC/HBO production had an estimated budget of $100,000,000, though the result of that was a new, innovative historical epic the likes of which had not been seen since of Band Of Brothers (and more recently, Game of Thrones). Bruno Heller was just one of the executive producers at the helm of the series and also was the man behind the the great writing.

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Rome showcases Roman society and culture, series one during and after the glorious reign of Julius Caesar (Ciarán Hinds now Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones season 3), and the life of the historical leader and his family, series two focusing upon the power struggle between the cynical and vulgar Mark Antony and the ambitious Octavian following the climatic end to series one. Cleverly, this parallels the story of Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), two soldiers that over the course of the series take us through the rough ride of Roman civilization, also ironically finding themselves to be unknowing catalysts of historic events. Lucius’s and Titus’s hardship and friendship is known as being one of the most memorable ever seen in a television series.

Rome introduced a mixture of both new and fresh faces. Most notably, the experienced Ciarán Hinds, who before Rome had starred in Lara Croft Tomb Raider : The Cradle Of Life and The Phantom Of The Opera, and James Purefoy (Who plays Mark Antony), who before Rome was known by roles in A Knight’s Tale and Resident Evil.

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The two focus characters played by Ray Stevenson and Kevin McKidd saw their careers flourish after their notable performances in the series, Stevenson moving on to recent big budget films such as Thor and The Three Musketeers, and McKidd providing the voice of Soap MacTavish in the popular video game series Call Of Duty, and also plays Dr. Owen Hunt in Grey’s Anatomy. As you may know, two actors from Rome will be playing two big roles in Game Of Thrones season 3. Ciarán Hinds will play Mance Rayder, the ex-Night’s Watchman leader of the Wildlings, a role that was interestingly suggested to fellow Rome actor James Purefoy by some fans. The other casting choice of note is the role of Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark’s younger brother, who will be played by Tobias Menzies, who in Rome plays Marcus Brutus. These UK actors add to an already jam packed UK cast. It can be said, with Rome having similar scale and stylistic features to Game Of Thrones, that the pair are no strangers to playing historical archetypes and will surely ease into the roles effortlessly.

JamesPurefoyWith its strong cast and increasing popularity, it was certainly a surprise when Rome wasn’t renewed for another season. Rome was initially meant to be a mini-series, but when more people got behind its creation and the quality of writing improved it turned into a full ongoing series. However, with its blockbuster size budget, Rome was scrutinized financially, causing HBO to announce that they wouldn’t be renewing Rome into its third season.

With recent shows making it past the season two threshold, is there room for optimism? Rumors suggested that Rome could have hit the big screen, a wise choice, as there is more chance for it to make its budget back, though I believe Rome was made for TV, and would be better off for it. I can’t imagine fans of Game Of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire would be to happy with their beloved series being squeezed into a two hour time frame.
1311Rome-HBO-Series-PostersUnfortunately, this past year has seen little to no news about Rome hitting TV or film. With HBO comfortable with its resurgence of popularity of it’s shows as of late, can Rome be considered again in the near future?  This is doubtful, with Game Of Thrones in full swing, HBO undoubtedly wouldn’t take the risk of investing $100 million into a show with the competition it faces at this time, even with Rome’s past and arguably present popularity.

For now, DVD/Blu-ray versions of Rome will have to suffice for fans, the brilliant hit show will never be forgotten, and may not have to be. There is still time, and you only have to look at Band Of Brothers and The Pacific to know that HBO haven’t been shy of rekindling similar styled big budget series in the past. Whether Rome comes back with the same characters or ventures into new territories, we still would give anything for a bit of news!

For more on Rome, check out our full review of both seasons!

Leave us a comment with your own hopes and dreams for the future of this show.

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231 Comments on "Remembering Rome: What became of the cancelled hit HBO show?"

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Gaius Octavian
Guest

C’mon … please. Just one more season!

Julian
Guest

It was one of the best series ever, its a true pitty they didnt continue the story. Nice article by the way

Erika
Guest

If they wanted to I’m sure they could bring Rome back. All they have to do is show it in between Game of Thrones and True Blood. Both shows are only on for what less then 6 month?

Michelle My Belle
Guest

I’m wondering how HBO will spin off the rest of Game of Thrones considering the fourth novel installment sucks arse. Too many inconsequential characters that leads to nowhere. I LOVED Rome and still do. Its sad to see it end. I really do hope HBO/BBC can bring it back to the likes of its first season. Long live the Republic!!!

abhishek anand
Guest

Its a nice show i ever saw in my life

Breeze
Guest
I think HBO is really blowing it. I loved Rome, Carnivale (Remember that award winning show?). Deadwood, etc. I think Peter Dinklage is my favorite actor on GoT. Everyone loves him. Why replace him with an actor who eats up 20% of the budget. I can’t stand to think of that character becoming “more comedic.” The dignity that Peter brings to that role, along with the humor, is why we love him so much. I read somewhere recently that HBO plans to do its new series with only a few seasons. So, in other words, they will be mini-series. We… Read more »
brucetonbryfield
Guest

Just to add to my previous comment, even Hbo admits they shouldn’t have cancelled the show as they made their money back and much more in DVD and online sales. They had originally planned to do seven seasons which would have been brilliant!

brucetonbryfield
Guest

I would love a season 3! I think season 2 was better than the first. The production and acting was out of this world. Better than Game of Thrones actually.

sheryl
Guest

I have just watched this series on DVD and am AWED !! I must agree that this is one of the most outstanding made-for-TV items I’ve ever seen. It ranks right up there with ‘I, CLAUDIUS’ created by BBC almost 20 years or more ago.

Such high quality should be encouraged. We are not all fans of the lowest type of TV that abounds today.

Dirk
Guest

This was the best tv series ever made by far. I was so disappointed to hear that there are still no plans for any followup anything:(

Jayrod1998
Guest

I love GoT but Rome is much better I wish they would make a Season 3 and maybe cancel another show nobody really watches or likes and put that money in Rome Season 3!!!

Matthew
Guest

Would have be great to see Ceasar’s son come to some kind of power. Lucius Vorenus survived his wounds and progressed to some great General along with Pullo. The whole lot getting rid of the corrupt Roman senate and restoring it to some glory.

Jason Andrew Hahn
Guest

That’s to predictable, I’d hate to see Pullios kid make a rise for power like he says he should do, it be cooler to see the son of Cleo reform from a brat to something else

vangogh66
Guest

I loved the show. I wish someone would pick up the torch and it least try to make a movie.

Cian Gaffney
Guest

It’s a sin that it was cancelled. I’d be happy enough if McKidd and Purefoy joined the Game of Thrones ensemble, fans are crying out for them. THIRTEEN!

Frank
Guest

Rome was the best show on TV. I was so upset when it didn’t come back. Titus and Vorenus were amazing characters. Just watched the series again on DVD and its still amazing. Bring it back with the same actors. No one can replace Ray and Kevin.

Odysseus
Guest

Please bring it back.. Please

Cory Keller
Guest
dont worry folks. theres talks of doing the early life of ceaser. when he was coming up as a dominant senator. there going to use the actors from spartacus who played ceaser and cassius and pompei as the lead actors. people enjoyed ceaser and casssius and the whole spartacus ride so much that we want more. but the director of spartacus has another project about humans on aliens world at war. but realistic ones. not all the treky bullshit with just extended foreheads.so it is possible it might not get done but there is hope for another director to take… Read more »
Karen
Guest

I wish Netflix would buy the rights to Rome and put out a new season. I LOVED this series. I would love to see the saga of Pullo and Vorenus continue. We were all left hanging at the end of season 2.

Cory Keller
Guest

im right there with ya but vorenus died

THIRTEEN
Guest

He didn’t! You don’t say that!!

rome fan
Guest

And for those who don’t know, production was ceased because they ran out of money.

rome fan
Guest

THIS IS THE MOST USELESS ARTICLE EVER. IF THERE IS NO NEWS TO REPORT WHAT IS THE POINT. YEAH LIKE ROME WAS THIS SHOW ABOUT ROME AND IT WAS LIKE REALLY GOOD AND STUFF BUT NOTHING HAS HAPPENED REGARDING NEW EPISODES OR MOVIES FOR 5 YEARS … F*CK YOU.

Uduma Alobo
Guest

STOP DISSING GAME OF THRONES, game of thrones is awesome but rome was blooooddyyyyyy awesome, by the way game of thrones is the closest tv show to rome

rome fan
Guest

Sorry it’s not a bad article, I am just disapointed as I just finished watching the series for the third time. I’m so heart broken that there is no more of this masterpiece.

Terry Collier
Guest

Really miss this show, wish it come back. Very entertaining. It is probably as accurate as most of the history books we read in middle and high school.

Nick
Guest

HBO prematurely pulled the plug on a lot of great shows. Rome, Lucky Louie, and Deadwood just to name a few.

Aaron
Guest

I just finished the series a couple moments ago. I have to say it was by far the best TV show about Rome I have ever seen. Yes it did change some things in history but it was outstanding entertainment. If it wasn’t for this series I would have never known Julius Caesar wrote anything about the Galic War let alone Titus Lucius ever existed. Speaking of which they were by far my favorite characters. It’s quite sad I won’t be seeing anymore of them.

Bring back Rome
Guest

I think a great idea would be a pre-quel. There would be a lot of excitement with Crassus, Sulla, and a young Pompeii and Ceasar, as well as seeing Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) growing up!!

Steve Panella
Guest
I am not an avid TV watcher and came upon the Rome series towards the end of the series. At the time I did not know that the series was not to continue, and was delighted and fascinated by the complex plots, wonderful script, acting and close historical depiction. I was later dismayed to find out that the series was cancelled. Rome is the best series I have seen on TV and I bought the collection on DVD. I try not to watch it too often because for me it is a special event to see the shows and I… Read more »
Chico
Guest

I’m watching Rome for the third time… please bring it back!

Maluski
Guest

Rome is done with such good production quality and great actors. Its intelligent telivision. Please bring it back if I had a 100 million to spare I’d give it away just to see it produced. I have seen the series over a dozen times and never get tired of it.

Zarkey
Guest

LONG LIVE ROME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Make another series you will be loved forever.

Gameblor
Guest

Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back! Roman history is chock full of violence and intrigue so season 3 doesn’t have to be in the Augustus era, I would love to see the show go to the period of Christ or Emporer Hadrian. Oh how I miss this show. I was stunned when it was cancelled. Game of Thrones has got nothing on this…

Alkimachos
Guest

BRING ROME BACK PLZ!

bees304
Guest

I need to know what happens to lucius vorenas… is he dead
…i am very displeased about this no 3rd season business

Erastes Fulmen
Guest

If they brought it back, it would have to be bloody good. The fact they had to squeeze a lot of season three into season two, could possibly make picking up where they left off harder, there might be a few holes and gaps in the story. Although i did love this series, just finished watching both seasons on DVD for like the fourth time!

Yusufadsoy
Guest

I miss

nomatter
Guest

Dont get me wrong i love game of thrones but nothing beats ROME!

cisco
Guest

here here long live titus pulo

FORGQTTEN
Guest

Luckily HBO has agreed to remake I Cladius. So we shall have another roman tv show soon

Cneus Pompeus Magnus
Guest
The best thing ever made in TV EVER. Shame it has been cancelled. Shame there is no plan to bring it back. I think it wouldn´t fit on the big screen, unless the entire concept be changed. Two or three hours is very little time to spread over a long historical period of time. Series is the ideal format for that (think about the tudors, another good series, but far from rome). Nonetheless, there is always hope, as the antiquity is more and more reverenced with time. There will always be interest for these shows. I believe (and hope) that… Read more »
❥ jɛnny
Guest

How do you know that Vorenus hasn’t died?

Donna
Guest

I loved this show as well and don’t understand why it was only TWO seasons!

Erika
Guest

They said it cost to much money to keep on making another season of Rome so they would rather make a movie which never happened.

ikihi
Guest

Americans are only interested in stupid reality shows. They don’t want quality entertainment. It’s a true shame they canceled it.

Erika
Guest

Yea they are showing more and more reality shows that I’m not interested in.

caryn and mike
Guest

hubby and I watched the two seasons of Rome ,one episode a night and needless to say the BEST thing we have ever watched!!!!!!! very sad when it was over hoping the rumors of a movie are true_ we need more if Pullo and Vereneus(never saw a body:)

Maria
Guest

It was a pleasure to see this post as HBO Rome is still one of my favorite shows. Two seasons was definitely not enough. A movie would be great as long as the cast stayed the same. Sadly Vorenus died at the end of the series & his brotherhood with Pullo was a big highlight of the show. I will continue to support any future plans for a Rome revival. Loved Titus Pullo still my favorite!

brucetonbryfield
Guest

I don’t think Vorenus is dead. They purposefully kept it open by not showing his actual death and the Co creator of the series said in an interview that he is still alive. I wish they would revive this series. Titus and Vorenus are my favourite characters!

Jason Andrew Hahn
Guest

Yes they had great chemistry, I enjoyed Rome MUCH more then game of thrones, much more! I actually only got HBO cause of they hype of game of thrones which was very disappointing (very little action, lots of drama) where Rome def gave a more even dose of both :-D a 3rd season of this would be much appreciated, loved itttttttttttt

KiwiFan
Guest

Quite simply the most engaging television series ever. I remain utterly disappointed that this extraordinary historical epic hasn’t been continued – please HBO, bring it back!

Titus Uranus
Guest

HBO cancels all good shows – Game of Thrones will be yet another disappointment I’m sure. Deadwood, Rome, what else sure I’m missing something. Have lost respect for HBO

Erika
Guest

So far Game of Thrones has been a good show. Even my husband like this show. I don’t know why any one would think this show isn’t good

Sad fan
Guest

Why was it cancelled….it is a great show!!!!!!

Jerry Lee Brown
Guest

The most clever mixture of history, speculation, culture, and fictional composition I have ever seen. A history lesson, wrapped in delicious story telling. A most compelling ending to the second season as well, reminding me of the series final in Sopranos…. “About your Father”….. Classic production

Swagger
Guest

Great show, sucks that it got cancelled

Theuranne
Guest

Having bought both years on DVD it would be great to see a season 3. It’s just that good!

Kaloyan
Guest

for the love of human kind please forget about game of thrones and make real TV shows like Rome.Rome is at least educational.

Humza Sheikh
Guest

dude i fuckin loved game of thrones and watched it before Rome but i want both! hbo need to get it back in

Cory Keller
Guest

sir you are mistaken. game of thrones is now a piece of Americana. come on man i love rome but love game of thrones. game of thrones is amazing and so is rome. check out spartacus if you want some good roman tv. altho there was this really messed up roman movie called caligula. it was practically a porno

Nick
Guest

Rome was about as fictional as Game of Thrones. Read a book would ya

Nick
Guest

Rome was about as fictional as Game of Thrones. Read a book would ya

Jason
Guest

if by educational, you mean completely historically inaccurate.

svejk
Guest

If by “completely historically inaccurate” you mean “poetic licence with minor historical details”.

KOKONOT
Guest

I love GoT and I apsolutely love Rome.
+ I love Spartacus as well. Not sure why do you hate on GoT tho…
All 3 Tv Shows are damn good.

Kb
Guest

I’ve had hbo for years and must have been in a hole when the series originally aired. I recently started watching it on hbo go and love it. Season one has a great story line. I wish the would have continued this series. Script is way better that game of thrones or some of these other crap series on right now. Production blows sparticus out of the water.

Spider
Guest

I loved this series Rome. I feel it is as good as anything ever made for television, and is a top 5 show exemplifying the best reasons for the continued existence of tv. It further exemplifies the huge schism between the superior “cable channels”, like HBO, and everything else out there. As a result of product like this, I have happily given up broadcast tv, in favor of HBO, Showtime, and their contemporaries. I wish it had gone on for years.

Angelo Maranon
Guest

I enjoyed the initial actor for Augustus (or as he’s known in the show: Octavian) better than the older one. He doesn’t project the same wit and cunning.

Kelly Green Taylor
Guest

Please bring it back! Nothing has beat it yet!

Aurelia
Guest
My kids got me the best gift for my birthday this year: Seasons I & II of Rome. Not really being a huge fan of television, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and how much I learned from it. It took me a little under a month to go through the entire series, and now I’m feeling a little bereft and missing it terribly. I would love to see a season III that dealt with what was going on in the Middle East, maybe including the birth of Christ. It certainly would be interesting and relevant considering… Read more »
kevin
Guest

Please HBO, somebody! Bring back Rome.

Sam Atherton
Guest

Lucius!

Jackson Hounds
Guest

This is easily the best that television has ever offered in any arena. Fans everywhere still eagerly await the mention of the movie Bona Dea, and are wondering what else we can do to guarantee it’s production by Morning Light productions. .

Jane Scholl
Guest

I loved this show! I miss it! I learned a lot, & the show was awesome! Enough to get a tattoo from a scene when Pullo was in the arena, fighting for his life!

TheBearPaw
Guest

Season 1 of “Rome” was epic, one of the best products of HBO ever. Then, to be fair, season 2 of “Rome” went downhill in quality tremendously so the cancellation I can understand. That being said, I would take Rome season 3 anytime over the despicable “GoT” or “True Blood.”

Plus, HBO not even recreating Rome’s fucking website since its removal when the HBO.com makeover happened is disrespectful to say the least.

Jack Burton
Guest

Whoah whoah. I agree Rome is awesome. And I disagree that season 2 was really bad. I think Octavian’s psychological progression and rise to power was awesome. But yea S1 is definitely better. However, Game of Thrones is awesome. But S3 sucks so far compared to 1 & 2. True Blood is a disgrace. Agree with you there. It’s become a gay pride parade with fangs quite honestly.

Isabella
Guest

Season 2 was worse and less easy to follow, because they put the season 3 that was going to be made and season 2 in few last episodes of s2 . And this is a crime , that killed such a great show.

Erika
Guest

If your talking about game of Thrones season 1,2 and 3 I have to say all. 3 seasons where great even that they killed of some of the main characters but if you read the books the writer of the books kills a lot of his characters in it

ikihi
Guest

The quality went down because they had to rush season 3’s story line into the end of season 2.

Rafael Heria
Guest

lolol nice try with that. they originally planned this show as a miniseries, it says it in this article clear as day. I always laugh when people clearly pull information out of their a*ses.

Guest
Guest

From Wikipedia:

“I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end. The second was going to end with the death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine.” – Bruno Heller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome_(TV_series)#Cancellation_and_future

gellybeean
Guest

It was originally planned to be a mini series. ORIGINALLY. Then it turned into a full blown series. That was also in the article. Clear as day. The rising cost and the following criticism of said cost caused HBO to cancel the series. That was also clearly written in the article. Rome continued to be a ratings and critical hit, even as it was cancelled. You can easily Google that, because it wasn’t in the article, but it’s easy to find.

paaks
Guest

The quality went downhill in S2 because they knew they were getting canned so they tried to shove as much story in as possible at the end, making it rushed. The quality going downhill was due to the cancellation, it was not why it was cancelled.

Jacob Klein
Guest

I really think HBO has come to a turning point with this. I just don’t see this happening with Game of Thrones or any other of their series as it did with deadwood and rome. Here’s hoping!

Di McDowell
Guest

I LOVED this SHOW, Long live Titus Pulo !

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